The Sports Examiner

ATHLETICS: Crouser superb in win over Walsh in Zagreb

These “city center” competitions in the pole vault and shot put are becoming more common all the time and American Olympic shot champ Ryan Crouser voiced his support for the shot event held in mid-city Zagreb (CRO) as an early element in the Hanzekovic Memorial meet that completed the IAAF’s World Challenge Series on Tuesday.

“It’s one of my favorite venues,” he said after winning his seventh meet in 11 events in 2018 and throwing past 22 m once again at 22.09 m (72-5 3/4) to defeat world-leader Tomas Walsh (NZL: 21.78 m/71-5 1/2).

It was yet another meet past 22 m (72-2 1/4) for Crouser, the eighth time he has thrown at least that far in 2018, one of the best seasons ever. He’s not done, either, as he will be in Ostrava (CZE) this weekend for the IAAF Continental Cup.

The main portion of the meet on Tuesday was marred by rain early, but there were still numerous excellent performances:

∙ Mike Rodgers of the U.S. continued a good string of performances, winning the men’s 100 m in 10.08, ahead of Jamaica’s Tyquendo Tracey (10.18). It was Rodgers’ second win in three days, after taking the 100 m in the Citta di Padova (ITA) race in 10.10 on Sunday.

∙ Botswana’s Nigel Amos gritted his teeth and held on down the final straight to win the men’s 800 m in 1:44.08 over Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski (1:44.43) and Kenyan Jonathan Kitilit (1:44.50). Clayton Murphy of the U.S. was fifth in 1:45.79.

∙ World Champion Elijah Manangoi (KEN) won a terrific men’s 1,500 m, out-striding Yomif Kejelcha (ETH), 3:32.52-3:32.59, with Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI: 3:33.93) third and Morocco’s Abdelaati Iguider fourth in 3:34.21.

∙ Spain’s Orlando Ortega had very little trouble in the 110 m Hurdles, running 13.39, ahead of Americans Devon Allen (13.50 including hitting seven hurdles) and Freddie Crittenden (13.52).

In the men’s field events, South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga was an easy winner in the long jump at 8.46 m (27-9 1/4) and Jamaican Fedrick Dacres overwhelmed the discus field with a throw of 68.17 m (223-8). Among the women:

∙ World 100 m co-leader Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) continued her excellent season with an 11.05 win, well ahead of Michelle-Lee Ahye (TTO: 11.28).

∙ Another American showdown in the 100 m Hurdles saw Sharika Nelvis take charge in the middle of the race, then hold on against Olympic champ Brianna Rollins-McNeal, 12.65-12.66, with Christina Manning third in 12.79.

Seventh was 2008 Olympic champ Dawn Harper-Nelson (13.25) in what might have been her final race. She’s retiring at season’s end and this was the last of the major meets for the year. She’s been a great star for the U.S. and a class act since her days at UCLA.

∙ Over the illness that plagued her in the Diamond League final, Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic was the darling of the crowd and won easily with a throw of 67.60 m (221-9), more than nine feet in front of runner-up Yaime Perez (CUB: 64.78 m/212-6).

Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser won the 400 m easily in 50.54 and Kenya’s Lilian Rengeruk won a fast 3,000 m in 8:33.37 from Nora Jeruto (KEN: 8:33.61) and Gudaf Tsegay (ETH: 8:33.78).

Also in the meet in Padua on Sunday, Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) won the women’s mile in 4:20.51, no. 7 on the world list for 2018, and English Gardner of the U.S. won the women’s 100 m in 11.11. Russian Sergey Shubenkov won the 110 m Hurdles in 13.09, a time only he and Ortega have bettered in 2018.

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